WSHS: AMI Work, Semester Grades, & Essential Standards

To parents, guardians, and students of West Side High School:

With schools in Arkansas moving from short-term plans for Alternative Methods of Instruction, or AMI, to Extended-Year AMI, the focus of learning objectives at West Side High School has moved to emphasis on the Essential Standards. The required change in course goals to complete the year also necessitates a change in grading of assignments.

From now until the end of the school year, teachers will look for student understanding of the “essential standards,” which are learning goals in each course that continue across grade levels or across different subjects. Typically, teachers design lessons for the duration of the semester to span dozens of learning goals. The essential standards are learning goals that are of the highest in importance. The essential standards are the focus for the remainder of the year.

That means the full depth of the course will not be covered as it usually would. Assignments that would have measured a student’s mastery of several objectives will be streamlined to focus on the Essential Standards. It is also important to understand that the wide range of assignments that would give a fair and accurate course grade reflecting a student’s knowledge will be narrowed to a smaller set of goals.

As a result in this shift of emphasis, semester grades will be determined in a different way. Teachers will use student’s Term 3 work and AMI work to determine whether a student has mastered the Essential Standards. A student who is progressing toward or who by semester’s end has demonstrated mastery of the standards will receive the Term 3 grade as the semester grade. Students who fall short of progressing toward the essential standards will receive an “I” mark, or “incomplete,” and must remediate this summer in order to successfully pass the course.

Under no circumstances should a Grade 7-11 student stop completing AMI work.

Students and parents should understand, AMI work in combination with the Term 3 work will be used to determine the semester grade.

Students who satisfactorily complete AMI work will retain the Term 3 grade as the semester; in fact, students who excel in their AMI work will see a higher semester grade. Students who are not progressing toward mastery of the essential standards, which will be determined by their submitted AMI work, will receive an “I-Incomplete.”

What happens with students who have an “I-Incomplete” grade? An “I” grade indicates that a student has not provided evidence neither of progression toward nor mastery of Essential Standards. Without completing supplemental instruction that will be scheduled prior to the start of the next school year, the student’s  “I” will change to an “F” and the student will not pass the course. The details of the supplemental program will be announced at a later time.

Communication The school and teachers are mindful that each family’s social and academic situation will be varied. Health, in-home support from adults, stress and anxiety, access to online resources, and family dynamic will all affect a student’s ability to successfully complete AMI work. For that reason, teacher and school communication with students and families will likely vary as student needs vary. Likewise, it is important for both the school and the family to keep communicating regularly with the teachers and the school.

Questions? Please contact the office at (501) 825-7241 or email Matt Irwin.